Long gone are the days where you’d walk into a room to be greeted by a vast collection of vinyl, CDs, and DVDs stored lovingly on a bookcase, many people are freeing up space and embracing the freedom of the digital medium.
In 2011, digital music sales increased 8% worldwide, with many people turning away from physical copies, instead favoring digital releases and live streaming. It is now predicted that the average iTunes user has a library of 7,160 songs.
With the demise of physical music on the horizon, people are now looking for ways to stream it around the house. In this blog post, we’ll look at the best ways to liberate your audio, easily allowing you to pipe your favorite music around the home.
Setting up a system for streaming audio is a lot less daunting than you would think. In theory, there are only a few different components required to bring everything together. The basic essentials are an internet connection, music player, receiver, speaker, and of course content.
With there being so many different ways to stream content through out your home, we have listed some of the easiest, and most popular ways.
AirPlay is an Apple technology, allowing users to easily broadcast their content from AirPlay enabled devices to other AirPlay compatible devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network, this includes computers, speakers, the second generation Apple TV and the Airport express.
It has the following benefits:
• As content is shared using Wi-Fi, Airplay beats other protocols such as blue tooth in terms of range. The average Bluetooth device can share audio up to 30 feet, whilst with AirPlay, you can stream as far as your WIFI extends.
• Due to the technology being owned by Apple, who are renown for producing high quality devices, AirPlay has only been licensed to similarly high end companies. This means that Airplay speakers are normally of a high quality, from companies such as Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and Samsung.
• When content is streamed across devices, iTunes information such as track name, artist name, and album artwork are also shared.
While AirPlay only supports certain applications on certain computers, Airfoil, a third-party program by Rogue Amoeba, allows users to stream ANY audio from their desktop via AirPlay.
Apple Airport Express Base Station
The Airport Express has been described as Apple’s ‘best kept secret.’ It is an all-white unit, which is about the size and shape of a deck of cards. It can turn any stereo system into a Wi-Fi (or wired) receiver for your iTunes music regardless of where you keep your music on your (providing its an Apple device i.e. Mac, PC or iOS).
Apple’s AirPlay technology recognizes the AirPort Express on your home network, and treats the Base Station as a set of speakers, that you can “push” your music to, from your iTunes software.
It’s also possible to stream your music to multiple stereos by adding multiple AirPort Express Base Stations. Each one can be labelled according to whatever makes sense e.g. “Living Room”, “Kitchen” etc. and if you’re streaming from a PC or Mac, you can have them all receiving the music simultaneously.
Additional AirPort Express music features include:
• Each AirPort Express can be controlled from your computer, or remotely using your iOS device with Apple’s free “Remote” app.
• Each AirPort Express will show up as AirPlay devices in any app that supports AirPlay e.g. Spotify.